I have some furniture which was made in Europe. The bolts and what-not are all in metric measurements. Some of the bolts came loose and were misplaced, and some of the pieces necessary for converting stages of the furniture were missing.

I went to the local hardware store, and they did not stock more than a very basic supply of metric sized hardware. I searched online and could not find anywhere to order metric sizes.

How can I, using U.S. sizes of hardware, work with European sized threaded-sockets? Both the lengths and the thicknesses are issues. Is there a way to adapt the sockets so that they will fit standard measurement hardware? Perhaps something that can be stuffed into the sockets, or something like that, so that a smaller size standard piece would fit??

  • 2
    You mean metric? You went to a bad hardware store then...
    – J. Musser
    Jan 6, 2015 at 5:03
  • @J.Musser Home Depot? Either way, you would think I at least would have found online. Jan 6, 2015 at 5:04
  • Are you trying to match an imperial bolt to a metric nut?
    – apaul
    Jan 6, 2015 at 17:02
  • 1
    @close-voters - why is this off topic as per either of the upvoted answers here? I explained what my problem is, why conventional attempts did not work and I need a hack, and defined what kind of answer I am looking for. Jan 6, 2015 at 19:40
  • 1
    If you can measure the size precisely (preferably using calipers), you can get the exact size metric fastener pretty cheap from my favorite hardware vendor, Fastenal. They have branches all across the US, Canada, and Mexico.
    – Mike
    Jan 8, 2015 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


Saying European measurements is not a proper terminology and that is the reason you had a confused clerk at the hardware store.

There are two standard measurements in the world, metric and imperial. Imperial is miles yards, feet, inches etc. Metric is meters, millimeters, centimeters etc.

if your furniture was made in Europe the hardware is more likely then not metric. Take a bolt or nut to the hardware store with you. Show it to the clerk and tell them what you need.

  • I don't think my problem was calling it European - the clerk showed me the 3 metric bolts they had in the store, despite my referring to it as European, he somehow figured out what I meant. Jan 6, 2015 at 19:30
  • 4
    @YeZ I think you need to go to a different store.
    – Jon
    Jan 6, 2015 at 19:32

If you're trying to get an imperial bolt to screw in to metric nut, that's likely pretty hopeless.

Beyond the obvious length and diameter issue you will likely encounter differences in the thread pitch. Imperial bolts typically use the Unified Thread Standard (UTS) while metric bolts typically use ISO standard threads.

While there may be a few that seem to screw together, at best you'll end up with a loose, wobbly, and potentially dangerous connection. Save yourself the the time and aggravation and use one or the other.

If you're just looking for a tool that will work for both metric and imperial you could try a crescent wrench or adjustable spanner.

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  • There is no hacky way to resize the metric sockets? I was hoping someone would come up with some putty or something that I could stuff into the socket to resize it. Jan 6, 2015 at 19:32
  • @YeZ If it was a one time use thing perhaps you could, but I wouldn't recommend it for something as permanent as furniture.
    – apaul
    Jan 6, 2015 at 19:59
  • 1
    @YeZ also did you look for metric parts or did you just ask for European parts?
    – apaul
    Jan 6, 2015 at 20:00
  • I found the metric selection they had - it was very minimal. (Even though I think I asked for European - I don't remember, it was a few months ago) Jan 6, 2015 at 20:13

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